I'm not firm in tibetan buddhism, but my old daddy had wanted to make a spiritual gift to me 12 years ago- I'd put it into the bookshelf after I'd read a handful of pages, and was a bit puzzled why this might have such a big reminescence as I've heard somewhere (and expected because of having got it by my father as a special birthday present).

Recently I was beginning a small research, especially about Padmasambhava, and there it occured to me that he was said to be the autor/to have been the spiritual background of the "tibetisches Totenbuch" (german name). I was surprised and saw now, that the book of my father was "tibetanisches Totenbuch" - which is a suspicious change - at least suitable for better business. On amazon I've found both titles and that of mine was looking color- and playful and that what I don't own looked more serious.

Q: Are the books at least related? Is the "tibetanisches Totenbuch" something like "tibetisches Totenbuch for dummies" or is it a complete different work (possibly just profiting from the extreme similarity of the titles - but what do I know...)?

Addendum: in the book they say: subtitle "...or The after-death-experiences on the Bardo-stage" and then "... after the english edition of Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup, published by Evans-Wentz, (...) newly edited commented and introduced by Lama Anagarika Govinda" On the next page they write: "the title of the original edition was "the tibetan book of the dead".

But I do not find yet any reference to Padmasambhava (may be deeply in the book itself?) which was irritating me.

Addendum 2 Ah, now I find something which looks relevant. The first 150 pages are simply introductions (which made me silly when I read into it and tried to make any sense of what was said), on pg 148 Padmasambhava is first time mentioned and then on pg 159 it seems that the traditional text does really start.

So I think this answers my (stupid?) question ...

1 Answer 1


It looks like Tibetisches Totenbuch is a German name for what's popularly known as "The Tibetan Book of the Dead".

In that case, (quotes from Wikipedia)

According to Tibetan tradition, the "Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State" was composed in the 8th century by Padmasambhava, written down by his primary student, Yeshe Tsogyal, buried in the Gampo hills in central Tibet and subsequently discovered by a Tibetan terton, Karma Lingpa, in the 14th century.

It is part of a larger terma cycle, Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones, (zab-chos zhi khro dgongs pa rang grol, also known as kar-gling zhi-khro, popularly known as "Karma Lingpa's Peaceful and Wrathful Ones."

The Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation is known in several versions, containing varying numbers of sections and subsections, and arranged in different orders, ranging from around ten to thirty-eight titles. The individual texts cover a wide range of subjects, including meditation instructions, visualizations of deities, liturgies and prayers, lists of mantras, descriptions of the signs of death, indications of future rebirth, and texts such as the bar do thos grol that are concerned with the bardo-state.

From what I can see on the Internet, it looks like Tibetisches and Tibet-an-isches are used interchangeably and both simply mean "Tibetan". If this is correct, then they most likely refer to different versions or different translations of the same basic text.

  • Hello Andrej - thanks for your answer, this is interesting. To give more substance to my question I did a small bibliographic addendum, if you mind, please look at this. Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 15:27
  • Just "accepted" to close-the-case. Thanks for your impulse! Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 15:51

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